Tigo Rwanda launches mobile money payment service

Sat May 14, 2011 8:55am GMT

By Kezio-Musoke David

KIGALI (Reuters) - Tigo Rwanda, a telecom brand owned by Millicom Cellular International (MIC), on Friday launched its mobile money services in Rwanda, targeted at subscribers with limited or no access to banking services.

Tigo Rwanda is the second mobile company to launch such a service after South Africa-based MTN's local unit launched its mobile money product in February 2010, acquiring about 260,000 subscribers by March this year.

Tigo has similar services in Ghana and Tanzania.

Rwanda's rural areas have limited access to financial services, with the central bank saying only 1.7 million deposit accounts had been registered by December 2010 out of a population of 9 million.

With about 3.3 million mobile subscribers shared between MTN and Tigo as of January this year, Rwandan mobile users can utilise the technology to deposit and withdraw money and can pay electricity bills and school fees via text messages.

"Tigo Cash is basically a wallet on your mobile phone. You don't have to have a bank account," said Tom Gutjahr, Tigo Rwanda's chief executive.

Licensed to operate in Rwanda two years ago, MCL said Tigo Cash can send between $1 and $550.

John Sebabi, head of payment systems at Rwanda's central bank, said the new service would deepen financial services.   Continued...

<p>A man scrolls through his mobile phone to carry out a money transaction via M-PESA in Nairobi May 12, 2009. REUTERS/Noor Khamis</p>
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